Excitement filled the warm air outside as birds chirped and the sun shone brightly. Summer had definitely arrived! I hopped on the bus with an extra bit of excitement and found a seat next to a window where I could peer out as we headed home. Voices were loud and excited and we were all filled with joy and anticipation. The bus pulled out after the last kid jumped on and the light glistened through the windows as we passed by the shadows of the trees to our home destinations. My mind was filled with wonder as I looked forward to running around after school that afternoon.
One by one the bus stopped and dropped off my fellow classmates and students. Finally, about two-thirds of the way through the bus route, the bus pulled to a stop and it was time for me to finally arrive home. We pulled into the front of the rackety old house out in the country and I quickly exited the bus. I had pretty much kept to myself on the bus, hoping some bigger kid wouldn’t pick on me. I had made it through another day and now was free as I stepped off the bottom step of the bus. The sun continued to shine brightly on my face and I was ready to run to grab my bicycle when I noticed our car in front of the house. It was a 1967 four-door olive green Chevy Impala. By today’s standards, the car was huge.
Suddenly, my heart sank as I noticed a set of box springs and a mattress on top of the car. There was the beginning of the first row of boxes on top of the mattress. I knew what that meant. It was time to move on. I had no idea. So much for gathering my personal belongings the next day. So much for entering those hallways in the fall. So much for being able to just run and play this summer. Who knew where we would end up? Who knew how long it would take to arrive?
“Shawn!” my dad called. “Hey buddy, guess what?! Summer starts a few days early!” he said excitedly. “We’re headed out west! We’re going to the mountains!” Most kids might have imagined fun times camping or hiking excursions that might lay ahead of them. Except, I knew we weren’t headed out on vacation. I knew campfires weren’t in our future. We were loading up everything we could carry on our car and moving our entire belongings to the next destination, wherever that was going to be.
NEVER SETTLED: a memoir of a boy on the road to manhood by Shawn D. Congleton is currently available for the Kindle pre-order on Amazon. Title available 12.27.2020